Engaging titles for teens of all ages!
- Cherie Bennett
Life in the Fat Lane
This thought-provoking book tells the story of a beautiful, thin, and
popular high school junior who suddenly begins to gain an inexplicable
amount of weight. As her girth expands, her relationships with others
change dramatically as does her own self-perception. Life in the Fat Lane
is an interesting commentary on the importance of weight in our society.
- Kristin Butcher
When their favorite hang-out was turned into a shopping mall, the shop owners didn't welcome Zee and his buddies in their stores. Maybe it was their blue hair, leather, and spikes that intimidated the shopkeepers and the regular customers, but Zee and the gang felt it wasn't fair. In retaliation, Zee decided to graffiti Mr. Feniuk's wall. The next day, old Mr. Feniuk paints over Zee's graffiti and the stage is set for an ongoing battle. Will they ever resolve their differences, or will they continue to battle each other until the police are called? Here is a memorable story of inter-generational relationships and what it takes to get along.
- Stephen Chbosky
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
A shy, young teenager chronicles his growth from introspective wallflower to active participant of his own destiny over the course of a life-altering year as a high school freshman. Chronicled through a series of bittersweet letters addressed to an anonymous recipient, Charlie finds acceptance and makes discoveries about himself by establishing relationships with a group of outcast seniors, estranged family members, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Chobsky's first novel, this book is set in Pittsburgh.
- Gillian Cross
Pictures in the Dark
Pictures in the Dark was chosen purely on the basis of the cover art and in spite of a blurb that said something about a boy turning into an otter. Too much suspension of belief, I thought. I was wrong. Visually cinematic prose, startling detail, and depth of character development made for a particularly haunting and satisfying read.
- Sijie Dai
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
This is Sijie Dai's first novel. It was an overnight sensation when it appeared in France in 2000, becoming an immediate best-seller and winning five prizes. The story takes place in the 1970's, as Mao's Cultural Revolution swept over China, shutting down universities and banishing reactionary intellectuals to the countryside. The narrator and his best friend Luo are two boys among hundreds of thousands exiled to the countryside for re-education because they were guilty of being the sons of doctors. They are sent to live on isolated and vindictive mountain known as Phoenix in the Sky and are forced to spend their days carrying buckets of excrement up and down the mountain to fertilize the fields. But when they bargain their way into obtaining a forbidden Balzac novel from their friend Four Eyes, a new and dizzyingly vast world opens up to them. Through Balzac, they discover awakening love, desire and excitement, all the subjects that had, until then, been forbidden. After their encounter with the little seamstress and her father, Luo falls in love with the beautiful little seamstress. The two friends decide to steal Four Eyes' suitcase full of great books in order to transform the seamstress from a simple peasant into a sophisticated woman. Their success in doing so, and the unexpected consequences that follow, drive the novel to its surprising conclusion. This translated novel illustrates the power of art to enlarge our imaginations no matter what the circumstances.
- Jean Ferris
Love Among the Walnuts
Sandy lives in a perfect utopia surrounded by those he loves, far from the stressful real world. Life couldn't be any better until his jealous, good-for-nothing uncles poison his family leaving Sandy to find a cure and prove their guilt. Fortunately, Sandy joins up with a whole group of wacky characters who learn that helping each other is the best way to help themselves. You'll laugh and cheer for the good guys in this fun and endearing story of friendship and love.
- Walter Dean Myers
The Mouse Rap
Teenagers in Harlem hear that there may be a hidden treasure somewhere in their neighborhood buried by gangsters and worth big bucks. Mouse and his friends decide to look for the money along with the help of one of their grandfathers and an elderly man who has past ties to the mob. Along the way, we meet Mouse and his friends and get a glimpse into their lives that summer.
- Kathryn Lasky
Sam Brooks is fifteen and is unhappy in his new home in New England. He misses Indiana and his father that was recently killed in a car crash. He becomes interested, however, in a program to save eagles in the area, and finds himself spending all his time with Gus, an elderly wildlife photographer who is dying of cancer. He also meets Lucy, a girl with autism, and finds that she has a special understanding of the eagles, which allows her to progress out of her unreachable world. Dealing with themes such as the death of a loved one, moving to a new town, cancer, and compassion for those with special needs make this a thought-provoking read for teens.
- Carolyn Mackler
Vegan Virgin Valentine
Mara Valentine is a senior in high school, and grades and accomplishments are her life. She's in every school activity there is, plus she has a job. She's competing for class valedictorian (with her slimy ex-boyfriend Travis), and she's even already been accepted to Yale. Mara feels she's her parents' "only hope," because her much-older sister Aimee is a college-dropout, a single mother, and a flake, who drifts from boyfriend to boyfriend, from one end of the country to the other. Then, Aimee decides to move so far that her daughter, V, must stay with Mara's family in order to finish junior year. V is a wild child, constantly in one form of trouble or another, and Mara can't stand her.
- Daniel Pinkwater
The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death
The Snarkout Boys and the Avacado of Death is about two teenage movie geeks who discover that their hometown has both a seamy-bizarre nightworld and a curious mystery to solve. Contains great made-up words and a character with what is quite possibly the best name ever: Flipping Hades Terwilliger. Telling you too much more would give it away, but if you're in the mood for a piece of complete geek lunacy, I highly recommend it. "My favorite teen book EVER" raves one CLP librarian.
See also The Snarkout Boys and the Baconburg Horror.
- Louise Rennison
Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging
Georgia is a 14-year-old British teen, and this is her diary with notes on antics with her girlfriends, talk about boys and kissing, and updates on all the important events in a teenager's life. Whether it's figuring out what to wear to a dance, determining exactly what "See you later" means, or dealing with her "old" and "stupid" parents, Georgia's take is very dramatic and funny. "Ohmygodohmygodohmygod," what a fun read!
- Sonya Sones
Stop Pretending: What Happened When My Big Sister Went Crazy
Sones' short semi-autobiographical narrative is written in blank verse. Told through the viewpoint of Cookie, a 12 year old girl, we learn about her experiences with classmates, friends, and even a first boyfriend. But Cookie's experiences at home are anything but normal. With a sister who has recently been institutionalized for manic depression and parents whose marriage is on the verge of collapse, her childhood emotions are multi-faceted and at times heart breaking. This is an ideal piece of fiction for those teens trying to cope with and /or learn about mental illness (and the stigma society continues to associate with it).
- Sarah Weeks
So B. It
Most girls Heidi's age know where they were born. They know when their birthday is and the names of their parents and they know where their own name came from. Heidi doesn't know any of this - her mom has a "bum brain" and only speaks 23 words; their agoraphobic neighbor, Bernadette, takes care of both of them. When Heidi finds a roll of film lodged in the back of a drawer, she expects the pictures to answer her questions. Instead, they lead her on a journey across the country where, armed only with her incredible luck and determination, she must find herself. Some of the elements of the story have a hint of the melodramatic (Heidi's unfailing luck, for example), but in the end this book is simply a beautiful example of storytelling, much like the Newberry Award-winning Holes; Heidi is easy to identify with, and the story itself is charming and readable.
- Scott Westerfeld
The Midnighters #1: The Secret Hour
Jessica Day doesn't really mind when her mom's new job moves her from Chicago to the small town of Bixby, Oklahoma. Everyone there seems really nice, and it's warmer than Chicago. The water tastes a little funny, but Jess figures out that she'll get used to it. After a while, though, Jess begins to wonder about the strange dreams she's having: she wakes up and the stroke of midnight, and everything's very strange. It almost seems like time has stopped, but not for Jess -- and not for the creepy crawly things that keep chasing her. And then Jess meets four other kids, who have the same dreams. But what they know, and what Jess soon learns, is that they're not dreams at all. They are the Midnighters, and for them time really does stop for one hour, at the stroke of midnight. And during that hour, all the dark creatures come out to play...
With well-developed characters and non-stop action, this first volume in a new series will please even the most discerning of fantasy readers. Tapping into the anxieties anyone would feel upon moving into a new town, and adding a few twists that make fitting in really difficult, The Midnighters #1: The Secret Hour is an excellent choice for any reader, teen or otherwise, I, for one, can't wait to read the next installment.
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